Between October 3 and 4, 1968, The Monkees performed three shows at the famed Budokan Hall in Tokyo, Japan. The photo below was originally published in Andrew Sandoval's book, The Monkees: The Day-By-Day Story of the '60s TV Pop Sensation.
Here's a color photo from one of the shows at the Budokan:
In an August 2016 interview with Rolling Stone, Michael Nesmith spoke about his composition "Circle Sky," a key song from the soundtrack of The Monkees' 1968 feature film, Head:
"I also wrote this one when we were performing. I wanted to explore the power trio of us. In a strange way, we were actually pretty good. Micky was a real garage-band drummer. I was a real scream-and-shout guitar player and Peter was a very precise player. He could play interesting lines and fills on the bass. The power trio that existed between us was seldom explored. The lyrics are about television and the corporate man."
Thanks a lot to Tom B. for reminding the Live Almanac about this live footage from a stop on The Monkees' 20th Anniversary Tour!
Michael Nesmith performed Bo Diddley's "You Can't Judge a Book by the Cover" during his solo spot in The Monkees' stage show, beginning with the first Monkees live concert in Hawaii in December 1966 and throughout the group's summer 1967 tour of the United States and England. The Sundowners, one of the opening acts for the '67 summer concerts, backed Nez (and Davy, Micky, and Peter) during their individual segments.
Listen to Peter Tork introduce Michael Nesmith, with a little inspiration from The Beatles:
Tonight in 1989, 28 years ago, I attended The Monkees' concert at Valley Forge Music Fair in Devon, Pennsylvania, right outside of Philadelphia. The show was fantastic, and as you can tell from the audio below, the crowd was very enthusiastic.
The 1989 US tour featured an eclectic set list. Songs like "She Hangs Out" and "As We Go Along" were debuted live while "D.W. Washburn" got its first airing in concert since the 1968 Australian/Japanese tour. "What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round?" hadn't been played by the trio since the initial 1986 reunion and saw Peter take the lead vocal in Michael's absence. An acoustic set, first performed during the European tour earlier in 1989, remained in the show and continued to be a highlight. Davy's solo spot, "Hangin' By a Thread," was a personal favorite.
Shortly after the Valley Forge concert, I acquired an audience recording from a tape trader. Here are some highlights, courtesy of the Live Almanac's YouTube channel:
Here's an inspired performance of "Steppin' Stone" live at NYCB Theatre at Westbury in New York on June 17, 2011. Performing in a theatre in the round, watch as a "dizzy" Micky halts the show for a little good clean fun. And man, seeing this reminds me of how much I miss Davy!
The Monkees played a series of shows at Harrah's in Las Vegas at the end of their 1987 summer tour. Here's some footage from one of those shows that was posted on YouTube by Jeff Jones, guitarist in the backing band that year.
Thanks to Jennifer Winkle for these pictures from the final show on The Monkees' 2012 tour at New York City's Beacon Theatre on December 2, 2012.
The Monkees performed at Public Hall in Cleveland, Ohio on January 15, 1967. Flip later reported that Michael Nesmith tossed his green wool hat into the audience during this performance.
The Monkees performed two concerts at Pine Knob on their '87 summer tour. Here's a review of the first show on August 26, which also featured "Weird Al" Yankovic who opened for The Monkees that year.
The video below features footage from the second night at Pine Knob on August 27, 1987:
"As We Go Along" was first performed live on The Monkees' 1989 summer tour that visited the United States, Canada, and Japan. This audience recording, from the group's final show in Japan to date, was recorded at Kosei Nenkin Hall in Tokyo, a popular venue for concerts in that city that closed in 2010.
Listen to the bootleg recording of The Monkees while on tour in Japan in early October 1968, along with a rare interview with Peter Tork that was recorded during their visit, all courtesy of the We Want The Monkees podcast.
Here's a highlight from the Live Almanac's YouTube channel: a live version of "Salesman," a track from The Monkees' fourth LP, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. It was most likely recorded during one of the shows at Budokan Hall in Tokyo, Japan on October 3 or 4, 1968. One of the concerts in Tokyo was filmed and later aired on Japanese television, complete with Japanese overdubs introducing each song.
Mike Nesmith: lead vocal/guitar; Micky Dolenz: drums/backing vocals; Davy Jones: bass; Peter Tork: keyboards
Thanks to Brian Sumner for filming this historic show, advertised as Michael Nesmith's final concert with The Monkees, and to Sherri Hansen for creating a playlist of the footage on YouTube. Enjoy!
Famed studio musician Louis Shelton, who played the famous guitar lick on "Last Train to Clarksville" and was featured on numerous Monkees songs in the 1960s, guested with Micky, Peter, and the band last night during the group's final show of their 50th Anniversary Tour in Gold Coast, Australia.
Andrew Sandoval marked the occasion in a message on Facebook:
A cool moment featuring the wonderful Louie Shelton, a Candy Store Prophet and a key component of the Boyce & Hart sound. What was really a thrill was how Micky & Peter performed "Last Train To Clarksville" tonight, like they were doing it for the first time in 1966. This was in fact the first time they had ever performed with the man who played guitar on so many of their classic recordings from 1966-1969.
Of note, this is the song they've played the most since they started performing in December 1966 (pre-"I'm A Believer"). We shared so much great history this year, and this along with the appearances of Michael and hearing Davy's voice every night brought home that there is still very much a real group called The Monkees.
Here's "Oh My My," "The Girl I Knew Somewhere," and "Good Clean Fun," courtesy of The Monkees Tour Facebook page: